Although many fossil fuel promoters have been predicting a new “golden age” of harvesting fossil fuels, climate change may make that difficult if not impossible, reports Michael Klare at Tomdispatch. Klare notes that any increase in U.S. hydrocarbon output will require greater extraction of oil and gas from shale rock, which can only be accomplished via hydro-fracking. More fracking, in turn, means more water consumption. With the planet warming thanks to climate change, such intensive droughts are expected to intensify in many regions, which means rising agricultural demand for less water, including potentially in prime fracking locations. Indeed, during this past summer, wells and streams started drying up in many drought-stricken areas and drillers suddenly found themselves competing with hard-pressed food-producers for whatever water was available. In July, the situation became so dire in Pennsylvania that the Susquehanna River Basin Commission suspended permits for water withdrawals from the Susquehanna River and its tributaries, forcing some drillers to suspend operations. Most climate scientists suggest that severe drought is likely to become the “new normal” in many parts of the United States, putting the fracking boom very much into question.
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